How Baggage Handling Works

By: Karim Nice


A BAE pusher slides bags onto another branch of the conveyor system.
Photo courtesy BAE Automated Systems, Inc.

The conveyors in the main terminal of the Denver airport comprise a huge network. There are hundreds of different conveyors with junctions connecting all of them. The conveyor system has to sort all of the bags from all of the different airlines and send them to DCVs that are headed to the proper terminal.

Once your bag has been scanned, the baggage-handling system tracks its movement. At any time, it knows exactly where your bag is on the conveyor system. When your bag comes to a junction, a machine called a pusher either lets it pass or pushes it onto another conveyor.


Through this network of conveyors and junctions, your bag can be sent to nearly any destination automatically.

The last step in the main-terminal conveyor system is a conveyor that loads your bag into a passing DCV. This step is the equivalent of a highway on-ramp.

A conveyor shoots bags into moving DCVs.
Photo courtesy BAE Automated Systems, Inc.

Next, let's take a look at the DCVs.